Hi everyone, So today we’re going to learn how to build muscle Who doesn’t want a better body, right? It not only boosts your confidence, but there are tons of health benefits, and you can even see a dramatic improvement in your social life.
I’ve got some great tips for building muscle that will help you develop the body you’ve been looking for. I’m going to go over the basics, as well as a few advanced techniques that will give you that edge you’ve been looking for when it comes to muscle development.
So let’s get started…
First of all, let’s dispel a myth… building muscle isn’t just for those who want to fit into a double XL T-shirt. It’s also for women who want tight-toned bodies, men who want an athletic, fit physique… and it’s a great foundation for endurance competitions such as the Tough Mudder, Spartan Race, or other fitness competitions that are super-popular these days.
Whether you’re looking to bulk up, or just improve your strength and power, building a better body means developing your muscles, so you can tap into your fullest potential for a healthy, strong physique.
For starters, let’s address your diet. Your muscles are primarily made up of protein, so if you’re going to build muscle you need the right amount of protein in your diet. The go-to formula for a healthy diet is 10-35% protein, 45-65% carbohydrates, and 20-35% fat.
Now remember, you need all three for your body to work properly. So if you go on a strict protein-only diet you are going to experience fatigue due to lack of carbohydrates and fat. The body needs these to generate energy and to function properly. Plus carbohydrates and fat play an important role in turning protein into muscle, so you don’t want to neglect them in your diet.
Something you should be aware of is that a severe reduction in carbohydrates will generate something called “Ketones”. No they’re not notes on a keyboard, and ketones are not a musical composition.
Ketones are actually released into your blood stream if you aren’t eating enough food, or if you aren’t consuming enough carbs. An excessive amount of ketones creates a condition called Ketosis, which leads to low energy and fatigue. Ketosis throws off the chemical balance in your body which can lead to headaches, dizziness, bad breath, and nausea. Doesn’t sound like much fun, right? So make sure you consume enough carbs each day.
In terms of what types of protein you should choose, some great options for lean protein include boneless/skinless chicken breast, and small portions of lean red meat. If you eat fish, some other terrific low fat protein options are flounder, sole, cod, halibut, or red snapper.
Protein is also present in such healthy and nutritious foods as quinoa, oats, soba noodles, chia seeds, flax seeds, whole wheat pasta, wild rice, and kidney beans. Vegetables that are high in protein include spinach, kale, mushrooms, sprouts, artichokes, and peas. So mix it up, keep it interesting, and eat a well-balanced diet of protein, carbs, and healthy fats like avocado, olive oil, and coconut or flaxseed oil.
In terms of how often you should eat, it’s important to eat small, frequent meals every two to three hours. This will give you more energy for your workouts, reduce sluggishness, and increase your metabolism, which will help you reduce fat and showcase your muscles.
Eating four to six small, balanced meals a day should do the trick.
If you’re considering supplements, and want to include protein shakes in your diet, whey protein will help you put on mass. Plant proteins are good for those who want an easily digestible form of protein, or are sensitive to dairy.
Plant-based protein powders that contain digestive enzymes are a great choice, and it’s best to choose one that is low in sugar. Some plant-based options for protein supplements include peas, hemp, and pumpkin powders. It’s a great idea to add some fresh fruit for fiber and nutrients, and to enhance the flavor of your protein shakes.
Now, here’s a little muscle building science for you…
The fuel your muscles use to contract is called glucose, which is a form of blood sugar. Oxygen is required to break glucose down into fuel.
During intense exercise your body won’t have enough oxygen to complete multiple repetitions, so it needs to convert glucose into lactic acid, which generates the energy you need without oxygen.
The reason tough workouts can be so daunting for beginners is the discomfort this build-up of lactic acid causes. I know you’ve heard the term “feel the burn!” and that’s what weight lifters are talking about… the build up of lactic acid creates a burning sensation.
Now, while you do want to “feel the burn” sometimes, you don’t want to burn the house down! This build up of lactic acid can severely limit your ability to keep up the intensity when it comes to a power-packed workout.
There are a few supplements on the market that can help you reduce muscle pain and soreness during and after workouts.
BCAA’s or Branched Chain Amino Acids help to create more blood and oxygen flow during your workouts, which reduces muscle fatigue and can improve your performance.
Glutamine is another supplement available at specialty stores, which helps to reduce DOMS, or the Delayed On-set of Muscle Soreness after your workout. Glutamine increases muscle hydration and promotes the absorption of nutrients, which reduces muscle fatigue, and has the added benefit of improving your overall immunity as well.
Now in terms of what sort of equipment you should use, let’s get into the nitty gritty of the benefits of different types of resistance equipment. Plus I’ll give you some awesome tips afterwards to get better results from your workout once your body adapts to your usual routine.
So here’s the lowdown…
If you’re just getting started, beginners can really benefit from using machines at the gym. This will help you build foundational strength, and assist you in keeping good form.
Machines are designed to guide you through exercises that are highly targeted towards specific muscle groups. Beginners will benefit from the guidance machines give, and help you build your confidence and foundational strength.
Machines are great for advanced lifters as well, because they provide diversity to your workout, and offer the benefit of added stability, which comes in handy if you’re lifting extremely heavy weight. This can help you to avoid back or knee injuries that can occur when lifting heavy weight using free weights.
Speaking of free weights, once you’ve developed some good foundational strength, free weights are a must for developing strong muscles. They can’t be ignored because they force the body to work as an integrated unit, firing up multiple muscles to complete contractions, stabilize your body, and assist the targeted muscle in completing each exercise.
The more muscles you fire up, the more you increase the intensity of your workouts, and the more you expand your muscle engagement. By taxing your body through a great free weight routine, you’ll develop greater gains in strength over time than if you focused solely on machines.
Throw in some chest presses on a stability ball for even more muscle engagement, or do kettle bell swings to get your whole body fired up.
This will get your heart pumping and provide a cardio boost as well. It will also help develop muscle coordination, and provide more volume and intensity to your workouts in a shorter period of time.
Now, obviously we could go into greater detail, but those are some good basics to get you started, and keep you going for the long haul. So it’s time to get into the workout plan…
In terms of when to train, your lifestyle and goals will dictate that to some extent. Just to get a baseline of strength and muscle toning, you’ll need to do resistance training at least 3 days a week, preferably 4 or 5.
Three sets of 10-12 reps, with a 30 second break in between each set is a good starting point for a beginner. You’ll know your lifting the right amount of weight if you struggle a little to complete the last couple of reps, particularly by the third set. You should feel the burn halfway through the last set for sure.
And feel free to get a professional to show you the ropes when it comes to free-form exercises like using free weights and doing calisthenics. That way you can build up your knowledge base, and diversify your body building routine over time.
Now I warn you… you’re likely to get addicted to training once you get a taste for the lifestyle. You’ll start seeing results after 4-6 weeks and be like “wow, this is awesome, I can’t get enough!”
Still, you have to reel it in one or two days a week — even if you’re craving a tough workout. Training hard 7 days a week is bound to lead to overtraining. Because your muscles aren’t getting enough rest, they won’t have time to rebuild. Then fatigue sets in, and you won’t get the benefits of all that hard work you’ve been putting in!
So take one or two active rest days every week… even if you’re fiending to pump some iron. An active rest day is some light activity like walking, hiking, or tossing a ball around with family and friends.
For maximum muscle gains, shoot for 5 or 6 days a week. Alternate muscle groups each day, so your muscles have a chance to rest the next day after a vigorous workout. This rest period is when the muscle is rebuilding into a bigger, stronger version of itself, so rest is crucial. If a muscle is really sore, give it 2 or 3 days of rest after an intense workout session to rebuild.
Now I promised you a few tips for a sick workout that will up the ante when it comes to developing maximum strength and power.
There are lots of techniques for advanced training that will give your routine a boost.
Once you start developing strength gains, and your form is on point, you can move to Super Sets. Super Sets involve moving from one exercise to another without rest. For example, try going from a set of tricep extensions to a set of lat pull downs.
Once you master the Super Set, move on to Tri-Sets. A Tri-Set involves three back-to-back exercises, such as shoulder presses, push-ups, and crunches. This will really get your heart rate way up, improve your endurance, plus it’ll give you a power-packed workout in less time.
For improved gains in muscle strength and endurance, you can also try Drop Sets. Drop Sets involve completing a full set of reps, then immediately moving to a lower weight and doing another set of the same exercise. Keep repeating until complete muscle fatigue, then rest for a couple of minutes, and do it all over again.
If you really want big, powerful muscles, try increasing the weight on each successive set. Start out with a weight you’re comfortable with, but it’s a little taxing to lift after several reps, perform 6-8 reps, then take a 60-90 second rest, and then increase the weight slightly (let’s say 5 pounds) on each successive set. This technique will give you crazy gains in muscle size over time.
A good tip if you’re a guy looking for really solid chest muscles, is to focus on developing strong tricep and lat muscles to assist you with your bench press.
Another great tip for advanced lifters is to complete one full repetition, then include a few pulses at the top of the movement for each rep. This will get deep into the muscle fibers, and challenge your muscles to grow, even if you’ve been working out for a long time.
Finally… regarding muscle fibers, there are two basic type of muscle fibers: slow and fast twitch.
Fast-twitch muscle fibers engage under heavy loads, which require power and strength. These muscle fibers help you to perform a high intensity workout, but they fatigue easily. Fast-twitch muscle fibers are used for short, powerful bursts such as intense weightlifting, swinging a bat, wrestling, or sprinting.
Slow twitch muscle fibers allow you to go the distance. They are used to provide steady strength at a low intensity level. Slow twitch muscle fibers will help your muscles resist fatigue, but they have a low force output.
So if you want to build power, fast-twitch muscle fibers will get you there, and slow-twitch muscle fibers will help you build endurance.
And please remember, it’s super important to change up your routine after a while. As your body begins to adapt, you’ll need to mix it up to continue improving your fitness and keep building muscle.
You can accomplish this by changing up the weight, the rate of speed of each rep, the combination of muscle groups you train on a given day, and the types of exercises you include in your routine. This will keep your workouts interesting, and ensure you keep getting results long into the future.
Most of all remember, if it’s not challenging, it’s not working. Your muscles have to be placed under stress in order to grow stronger and bigger, so don’t get too comfy in your routine.
That’s all for now, keep tuned in to learn more about how to build a better body, and stay healthy!